Where it all begins
The Addendum approach to winemaking begins with curiosity and a profound respect for the rhythms of the vineyard. All vineyards chosen for the Addendum portfolio begin with a meticulous consideration of soil. It is the Addendum philosophy that few factors are more important in winemaking than the farming of appropriately matched varieties and soils. Addendum’s exceptional wines are crafted solely from top Napa sites that can reveal distinctive Cabernet characteristics.
In addition to the vineyards the Fess Parker team works with in Santa Barbara, the family revels in the challenges offered by the real, perceptible variances in the Napa vineyard sites from which Addendum sources its four distinct bottlings. Both the well-draining, rocky site at Stagecoach as well as the prestige valley floor Rutherford Vineyard were selected because of the beautiful wines their particular soils can generate when combined with low yields and experienced farming. Grapes are harvested only at winemaker Blair Fox’s discretion, and only at levels of ripeness that will produce elegant and aromatic wines, optimizing terroir, with varietal accuracy, not too early and never too late.
Nestled atop the Vaca Mountains directly adjacent to Pritchard Hill in the Atlas Peak AVA, Stagecoach Vineyard is the largest contiguous vineyard in the Napa Valley. Addendum officially sources from two Atlas Peak blocks that were planted in 1998 and span about 1.5 acres.
Characterized by bright red, volcanic Hambright soils made up of a boulder-strewn clay loam with a few solid rock outcroppings (which have been dynamited to create a more uniform soil base), Stagecoach has been called “the last frontier of the Napa Valley” due to its wilder, more rugged terrain, fragrant with wild herbs and dotted with rare native plants. Winemaker Blair Fox described his first visit to the dramatic vineyard as “jaw-dropping in its extremity.”
Located a 25-minute drive from the Silverado Trail off Soda Canyon Road, Stagecoach boasts altitudes ranging from 1,200-1800 feet above sea level, ensuring the entire vineyard is usually above the fog level. During the growing season, this site is characterized by long, warm, dry days and cool nights, with a steady breeze coming up from the valley, which provides a marine influence.
The flavor profile resulting from Addendum’s Stagecoach blocks exudes classic mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (clone 15) influence, with smaller berries that provide more concentration, firmer tannins and good acidity retention.
When deciding on vineyards for Addendum, winemaker Blair Fox knew immediately he wanted to work with these particular east-west traveling Stagecoach blocks, not only because of their well-draining soils, extreme southern hillside exposure and nearly 20-year-old vines – but because of his previous Syrah-sourcing (for Fess Parker’s Epiphany program) from the vineyard’s original renowned owner, Jan Krupp. Jan is widely respected for his remarkably hands-on approach and true partnership with his winemaker clients, and has become somewhat of a mentor to Blair since they started working together in 2007.
Located in the heart of the Rutherford AVA, the historic prestige vineyard from which Addendum sources its fruit for the Skellenger Lane and Napa Valley designate Cabernet Sauvignon bottlings was planted in 1895 by Mrs. Thomas Rutherford herself. This 300-acre parcel was replanted in 1988 using new Cabernet Sauvignon clones with tighter spacing and advanced trellising systems, enhancing both quality and grape tonnage.
Aside from its tremendous Napa history, the Rutherford site is an obvious choice for Addendum due to the impeccable farming by its established vineyard team, and therefore on par with the best farming in the world. The Rutherford AVA also serves as a valley floor foil to its mountainous Stagecoach counterpart. The 1.5 acre Addendum block, planted in mid-1990s, has very little slope and is thus home to dense clay content, which ensures the grapes’ characteristically big, rounded tannins, depth of character and structure that allows the wines to age for decades as a result. The 100% Cabernet Sauvignon bottling from this vineyard is labeled ‘Skellenger Lane’ for the road along which the vineyard is located. The wine is best characterized, however, by its intriguing Rutherford dust terroir profile.
The history of this vineyard is especially poignant for Addendum, as both proprietor Eli Parker and current winemaker Blair Fox have been awarded the prestigious Andre Tchelistcheff Winemaker of the Year Award, named for the renowned winemaker of the BV Rutherford Cabernets made from this vineyard in the 1960s and 1970s.